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17 Nov 2020 | 10:32 PM UTC

Demonstrations over mine sale plan continue November 18

Protesters gather for continued demonstrations regarding mine sale plan on November 18; anticipate disruptions

security
transportation
NCL

Event

Protests over the planned sale of the Vale mining site continued on Wednesday, November 18. Demonstrators have blocked the entrance to the Vale's nickel-cobalt mine in Goro whilst protesters continued to block access to the port of Noumea for the sixth consecutive day despite a court order preventing them from doing so. Opponents to the sale have stated that they will stage further demonstrations on Friday, November 20, and are calling for protests across the territory.

Further protests and associated security operations are likely in Noumea and other protest sites in the near term, with a high risk of severe disruptions to overland travel.

Context 

Recent demonstrations follow several weeks of occasionally aggressive protests over the proposed sale of the Goro nickel mine in the south of the main island. Recent protest activity has seen a number of roads blocked in and south of Noumea, as well as around the mine site itself. The ferry used to transport workers between the mine and Noumea has also been attacked by protesters. Following assertions that the sale will go ahead, local Kanak-nationalist groups have announced their intention to stage further protests in and around the capital in the coming days. Police used tear gas on Tuesday, November 17, to disperse demonstrators blocking access to the government's office in Noumea.

Advice

Those in Noumea are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. Travel south of the capital, particularly around the Goro mine, should be carefully planned in relation to security considerations, with alternative routes and contingency options being identified.

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